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Journal Found in an Abandoned Lighthouse

Dora’s Journal


The gnomes who lived near our dwarven stronghold fascinated me. They were always doing interesting things; they were so curious! My family didn’t understand why I liked the gnomes’ ways, but when I began to worship Olidamarra, the arguments at home began. When I became an actual cleric of Olidamarra, I was told to give it up, or leave. Much as it hurt, out the door I went. I swore to prove myself by bringing home the most rare, beautiful, wonderful, useful artifacts that I could find, and I won’t return until then!

Sailing away on the first ship to leave port, I didn’t care where I was headed. It doesn’t matter, now: we were caught in a great storm, drifted far off course, and finally wrecked in unknown waters. I found myself clinging to a spar until dawn, when I reached the shore of an unknown island. I woke on the beach with nothing but my holy symbol and the clothes on my back - and three strangers, other passengers from the ship. There was a rocky mountain inland, jungle almost to the water, and a lighthouse further down the beach, but no sign of the ship or other survivors.

While the elf and the human poked around the driftwood on shore, the halfling and I decided to walk to the lighthouse. Morwenna and I hadn’t gotten very far before we heard shouting, and turned to find the human running after us with a driftwood club raised high. I was rather alarmed, until Alexander reassured us that the club was for defense against any other folk on the island, and joined us in walking to the lighthouse.

It was some sixty feet high, out on a small peninsula, and without lights or other signs of life to it. The door at the base was closed, and no one answered Morwenna’s knocking and calling. I walked around the outside, found nothing, and tried the door. It opened, so we walked inside. The room was dark, but I could see several doors and began opening them in search of stairs. I found a ransacked storage room and an empty kitchen with five chairs in it. I found the latrine, and the pantry. Finally, I found the stairs! The first landing opened into a workroom, and I went to the window for a look outside.

I was looking down the beach from where we’d come, and could see the elf still eyeing the driftwood. I also saw several figures in the jungle, headed toward the elf! I shouted to Morwenna and Alexander, then dashed for the top of the lighthouse tower to shout at the elf, while Morwenna ran downstairs to the beach to shout from there. Alexander must not have understood - he simply looked confusedly after us both!

The stairs ended in a trap door, which easily opened to show me glass shards all over the floor: the light for the lighthouse had been smashed. I headed for the door out onto the balcony, and began leaning over the railing, shouting and waving my arms at the mad elf who was now dancing in the waves. Seeing that he took no notice of me, I dashed down the stairs past Alexander, shouted at him to follow me, and ran off to try and at least meet the unknown visitors as a group. Morwenna was already almost to the elf, who finally noticed us.

We watched the treeline warily, although Morwenna was pretty sure she’d seen the figures fade back into the brush when we started shouting. We headed back to the lighthouse with the elf, Triaa, comparing notes on what we’d found - and what we hadn’t. Where are the lighthouse keepers? Morwenna watched for fruit trees as we walked, then we all took a look around from the top of the lighthouse - but still no sign of life. Alexander and Morwenna barred the door, and Alexander made himself a spiked club by hammering nails through a board in the workroom.

He had need of it when I got curious and opened one of the two doors leading from the workroom - I was attacked by a monstrous batlike thing! It went for Alexander, and was thumped by Morwenna, who’d gotten a mallet from the kitchen. I grabbed at it and missed, then Triaa smashed it with a hammer.

Three more then flew in, fastening themselves on me, Alexander, and Triaa.
Morwenna went to work with her mallet, and I with my fists, and we finally killed them all. The room they had escaped from turned out to be a bedchamber, with an open but empty wardrobe. Books were scattered on the floor. Another door led to a second bedroom... this one full of the smell of death.

The woman’s body did not have puncture wounds from the batlike monsters, but her throat had been cut. Another door led to a second bedroom, this with a little boy’s body in it. The room was full of books on astronomy, and a telescope trained out of the window at the sky. While Alexander took down the telescope, to help us explore the island, Triaa opened yet another door and found the boy’s playroom. As Morwenna shouted, “There is evil in there!” we saw something move - a bloody set of clothes, moving of itself, and wrapping around Triaa’s neck!

Triaa staggered for the curtains and tore them down, but the sunlight pouring into the room had no effect on the invisible entity. Morwenna stabbed at it with knitting needles, and shouted for her god, Yondalla - also with no effect. I tried casting a healing spell on it, thinking that an evil entity would be hurt by good magic - no luck! And the whole time, it was choking the life from Triaa. He got so desperate, he grabbed the lit lantern and smashed it over himself, lighting his attacker (and himself) on fire. I was shouting for a knife, Morwenna was shouting for water; Alexander cast a spell which caused a shower to drench Triaa, so she ran from the room. Alexander, Triaa, and I were able to get ahold of the thing, which was constricting like a snake, and pulled it off of Triaa - but it promptly wrapped itself around Alexander’s neck instead.

Morwenna returned with a knife, and we all set to pulling the constrictor off of Alexander. This time, we stabbed and clubbed it until it went limp.
Alexander healed Triaa, and we carefully explored the rest of the tower. We found another sad sight - a second child’s body. Another ransacked wardrobe, as well, but no more attackers. We gathered in the kitchen, arming ourselves as best we could, and talking over our predicament. How to lay the dead to rest was one problem, but the greater ones - where are we?
How do we get out of here? It’s a mystery...

Anyone else here?

We talked over what to do with the bodies in the lighthouse - it seemed wrong to just leave them where they lay. Morwenna, who turned out to be a paladin, didn’t think my idea of a sky burial was acceptable at all.

Eventually, she asked Triaa to look from the top of the tower for any rocks to build a cairn with. He returned with news of some rocks down the coast, so we set off in that direction. While we walked, we talked of food - and were pleased to discover plenty of seafood to be caught! As we neared the rocks, we also made out a ship’s mast in the water offshore, and hoped to find useful items in the wreck.

The rocks outlined a small cove, and we could see a small cave opening at the shoreline. We couldn’t reach it from shore, only by swimming, so Triaa jumped in... and swam out to the wreck for a look, first. Next thing we knew, he was swimming for shore and shouting for clerics! I waded out into the water a little bit, and watched as Triaa was followed by many undead pirates from underwater. Morwenna was throwing rocks, and I raised my holy symbol and sent them back into the water. Alexander did the same, but more undead arrived before we could turn a second time.

We were hit a few times, and Triaa got into a wrestling match over a pirate’s scimitar (he won), and Alexander and I finally turned the rest of the pirates. We weren’t strong enough to destroy them, however, so we decided to head back to the tower and cremate the bodies, rather than risk another attack from the water while gathering rocks. That night was quiet, though we barred the door to be sure. The next day, Morwenna showed us halfling cooking with the seafood we’d gathered, and we spent the day cremating the bodies from the tower.

That night, we barricaded ourselves in the tower, and I went up to the top to look over the island in the night. I was hoping our disturbance would get a reaction from any inhabitants, and looked for a glimpse of movement or fires. No such luck, and off to bed I went! Of course, I missed the fun; we had visitors banging on the door after I went to sleep. Some of the locals proved to be humanoid lizard folk, but they left before dawn.

Morwenna and Triaa then talked us into making another attempt at the undead pirates’ lair. This round went both better, and worse. More pirates showed up, and more of them reached us to do damage before being turned. We ended up with another scimitar for our weapons, and Morwenna gave me a short “spear” made of a knife hafted onto a broomstick. Better than nothing!
When our turnings wore off, the remaining pirates came back. Morwenna was using the former captain’s eyepatch as a sling, which I found really funny, but we were in way over our heads. I ended up losing consciousness...

...and woke back at the lighthouse. Thank Olidammara, we all survived, but we needed rest!

Of former and current folk

Once up, I healed myself, Alexander, and Morwenna, but let Triaa continue to “rest” in the master bedroom to keep him out of trouble for a time. We’d decided to stay in the tower for the rest of the day, so I took the opportunity to check it out much more thoroughly. I noticed that Morwenna was sitting on Triaa’s chest and witnessing to him about her god as I passed through... and took a look under the mattress. Finally, a journal!

I sat down and began to read the journal, trying to ignore the strange conversation on the bed. I think Morwenna failed to convert Triaa. The journal was from the lighthouse keeper, a man named Mirval Kojar. The last journal entry was six months old, and mentioned a pirate ship pulling in at the southern part of the island, and the hope that they would ignore the lighthouse again. When I flipped to the front, I saw that the entries began some three years ago...

He was from Greyhawk, and had brought his wife and children with him while he maintained the lighthouse and explored the ruins at the top of the mountain. He’d found a chamber with a pedestal and sockets all around it - and a mithril piece that fit the diamond-shaped socket. The lizard folk are troglodytes, live in caves on the mountain, and actually traded with him.
But there are also spiders and spider-like monsters that live in the jungle. He saw the pirate ship pull into the cove to the southwest more than once, but they always ignored the lighthouse and its occupants.

I read all this out loud to Triaa when Morwenna went to make some dinner, while Alexander read over my shoulder. When Morwenna brought us food, we told her about the journal, too. We wondered about the cave by the sunken pirate ship - perhaps there was treasure in it? Also, the ruins on the mountain caught our interest. Plus, I wanted a look at the surrounding seas from the highest elevation; the journal gave us no hint as to where we were.

We knew we’d be either healed up or able to heal everyone in the morning, and went off to bed. Actually, I put every fork in the house on the bed around Triaa, first, and then I went to bed. What? I thought it was funny! Anyway, I woke up partway through the evening to the sound of Morwenna shouting about visitors. Apparently the troglodytes were back, and trying to force their way in the door. I ran down to hold it closed, while Alexander followed and began hissing through the door at them. I told him to try from an upper window, while dragging a table over in front of the door, but suddenly the thumping stopped and an awful howling began outside.
Triaa started shouting triumphantly from the top floor, having dropped a knife onto one of the troglodytes, which chased them off. I spent the rest of the night sleeping on the table barricade, just in case.

The next morning, I woke, prayed, and helped Alexander heal Triaa completely while Morwenna made breakfast. Then we were off to the pirate cove. Triaa jumped right into the water to swim into the cave, and Morwenna followed, after a few tries. I watched the water for trouble, while Alexander watched the treeline. We didn’t wait long before we heard Morwenna shouting about crabs, or people? Hard to hear over the surf, so I gave in and carefully swam over to the cave, myself.

There were crabs - as big as people! Triaa had the situation well in hand, however, and was already walking up the beach past a couple of overturned rowboats by the time I got there. I checked out the boats, then followed him deeper into the cave. Morwenna had already found a narrow tunnel at the back, so I slowly worked my way inside, thankful that I could see in the darkness! The others were back on the beach, killing the crabs trapped under the boats with their swords. I turned a corner and found a room full of crates, and four more undead! Morwenna shouted out that she could sense evil, and I got hit before I could pull out my holy symbol.

Olidammara’s wrath turned the zombies away from us, thankfully - because although the others ran in to help, none of them could see the undead shuffling around! Triaa tried to follow my directions, only tripping up once, and began to hack into the undead with a sword he’d found. Morwenna went to find a light source with Alexander, or at least get him to help me turn the things! Triaa had two killed by my directions before the first turning wore off. I heard the others calling to us to lead the zombies out to the light, and then I heard Morwenna fall down. The last zombie crunched into a box, which spilled oil everywhere, and I decided to turn the last two again and let Triaa finish them off.

Morwenna then ran into me on her way back into the room, and I had to direct two blind fighters, but they managed to kill the zombies and not each other. I was shouting for Alexander, but he was out at the boats trying to light wet wood on fire. By the time he came back to help me turn the zombies they were all dead, thank Olidammara! Triaa was able to light an oil-soaked torch, and we had a look at the pirates’ hidden booty.

Inside, outside...

Triaa checked around the hidden room, and found another exit while I opened various boxes. I found very ordinary things, but useful! Food, water, utensils, oil, rum, and fabric. I was eating some of the food (Morwenna’s seafood dishes were OK but real food went down well!) when I noticed a small iron box off to one side. I borrowed a knitting needle from Morwenna and went to work disabling the trap on the box, and opening the lock. There were gold and silver coins, a pouch, and some vials. When I poured the pouch out onto the lid, we saw several valuable amethysts. Alexander took a look at the vials, finding a couple of healing potions and a potion of invisibility, which he handed back to me.

We pulled the boxes of supplies out to the cave and loaded a boat, then took a look down the secret room’s exit tunnel. It ended at a wooden door, the handle of which Triaa tried to turn before I could have a look! He was lucky, however, and it wasn’t trapped, only locked. I didn’t get a chance to unlock it before he swung his sword at it and smashed it to smithereens.
He then shhh’d ME, which made me laugh at him instead of being mad. The new chamber we saw had two exits, and a skeleton sitting at a table in the center. Triaa kicked it and it shattered, which startled me into hollering at him after all...

...and something came down the left hand passage to see what the noise was about! I was right in the way of the carrion crawler’s tentacles, and only got one hit on it before being paralyzed. Triaa then used me as a shield while slashing at it with his sword. That sword ain’t right. But I wasn’t in a position to complain, as he killed the beast, then carried me to the table and ordered the others to “fix” me! Thankfully, their healing helped me shake off the poison.

I flipped the crawler over to check its stomach contents, but it hadn’t eaten anything of interest recently. Triaa was already up the right-hand passage, saying in passing that we ought to save the tentacles. I figured that the poison wouldn’t work after death, and proved it by slapping Alexander with one. The other passage led to some bedchambers, and then - daylight! We came out in the forest at some distance from the beach, and headed back to tell the others.

We rowed the supplies back to the lighthouse, then walked up to the treeline and up the mountain for more exploration. The trees quickly became full of webs... which Triaa wanted to set on fire. Before we got the chance, Alexander spotted a spidery-humanoid shape in the branches overhead, and we ran. We ran right into a web-filled pit, of course. Triaa was torching the webs around us as we fought several large spiders and the humanoid monsters. Their bites caused us to become slow and clumsy... but we held our own until Triaa was able to rescue us. Alexander killed one, and Triaa the rest!

Triaa then collapsed - I don’t know how he held on so long. We dragged him back to the lighthouse and barred ourselves inside for some much-needed rest!

Getting to know you

That night and the next day we did not leave the lighthouse. We healed up, and used the spyglass to look for a safer route up the mountainside.

Morwenna succumbed to the urge to cook, so we stayed out of her way, except when she emerged with a new dish for us to eat! We also took another look at the broken light, wondering if we could repair it enough to signal for help.

Morning came, and we tried another spot to climb the mountain. We didn’t get far before Alexander spotted some of the troglodytes in the jungle.

Although Morwenna said they were evil, they weren’t moving, so we tried to parley. Alexander was just starting to hiss at them, when Triaa drew his sword, and three javelins came flying at us! Although Alexander was shouting something in their language, Morwenna began slinging stones and Triaa charged right into the thick of them. I followed, but we were all sickened by the smell of the things up close! Finally, we killed some and drove the others away, collected some weapons, and jumped in the ocean to wash the smell off!

We stayed on the beach after that, walking the shoreline... and, by the end of the day, we’d returned to the lighthouse. All the way around the island, and no sign of land or ship! I checked the lighthouse for signs of visitors, and Triaa went back to using the spyglass on the jungle and mountainside. While in the kitchen, I realized that we had all the supplies to make beer, and got a batch started. I was starting to think we’d be here a while...

When I went up to check on Triaa, I found that he’d brought a barrel of rum to the balcony of the tower and was drinking it on watch. I went back to the kitchen and brought up some glasses for shots, and we had a contest...

...which I can’t remember most of. We’re told that we passed out at the same time and will have to have a rematch, later. Ah, my aching head! The beer can’t brew fast enough, compared to that rum!

The surprising part wasn’t that I was tied in a drinking contest with an elf. The surprise was waking up naked in bed with him the next morning.
Alexander and Morwenna burst through the door while I was still groggy, bearing big smiles and breakfast, and telling tales of a wild night among the four of us. In fact, Morwenna hinted that she might be in a family way... I had better never go home to my clan, they’d kill me. I’ll just mail them any artifacts I find, rather than tell them what I’ve been up to!

Triaa locked himself in his room to “meditate” and I went and jumped in the ocean for a while. Then, I washed all my clothes. I thought for a while... collected Triaa’s clothes, and washed them, too. That day and night we had a fair amount of rum to cover our embarrassment, and by evening, we’d so far recovered that we were halfway to the bedroom before we realized that Morwenna and Alexander weren’t following. They begged off, but we had fun, anyway!

The next morning, we decided to make another run at that mountain; this time, letting me search the treeline. Although six months have passed, it sounds like the lighthouse-keeper made regular trips up to the ruins, so I watched for a trail... and finally found one! Off into the jungle we walked, and Triaa even gathered some flowers for me as we went. Very sweet! This trail, however, led us directly to an open space and a large cave opening, which I guessed was the troglodytes’ lair. We readied our weapons, and I snuck up to the entrance to look and listen.

The entrance led down a tunnel, which curved into the mountain, so I quietly snuck inside. Eventually, I found myself in a large chamber full of totem poles and an opening on the other side. Oo! I just had to take a look around for anything of value! But the troglodytes had nothing of interest, so I worked my way around to the other tunnel, but found that it branched out and turned to tell the others what I’d found so far. I didn’t have far to go; they were almost on my heels! So much for waiting while I had a look! I hardly spoke to them when - Triaa started yelling at me for worrying him!

Well, I didn’t have to yell back, the lizard folk’s alarm drums began to pound and we were all running for the entrance as fast as we could move. We hit the open air and I dodged to one side, shouting at the others to follow me as I climbed up the side of the hill toward a ledge some fifty feet above us. Thank Olidammara, the others agreed that the troglodytes might not expect us to take this direction, and climbed after me. I reached the ledge and grabbed some loose rocks, in case I had to throw them down on pursuers, but everyone made it to the back of the ledge before the first troglodytes exited their lair.

The creatures ran straight down the path - whew! But the drums were still pounding, and I did not feel at all safe in our present position. I began to edge sideways along the ledge, which wound up the mountainside. It was narrow, but we slowly crawled along until it petered out, then climbed to another ledge thirty feet above. And another ledge after that... it was a long and tiring day, keeping quiet and edging our way up the mountainside the very, very hard way. Yet, we all made it safely to a plateau at the top, which also held the long searched-for ruins!

As soon as I got my breath back I very politely begged Triaa to NEVER yell in strange places again.

Current folk, redux

We spent the night on the plain by the ruins, away from both them and a shaft among the trees that seemed to lead back down into the mountain.
Morning came, and a cold breakfast (thank the halfling for bringing food with her everywhere!), after which we walked toward the ruins on the plateau. Naturally, we found more of the island’s spiders, both large ones and swarms of smaller! After clearing them out, we were able to find a way beneath the ruins and into a maze of passages.

There were strange pictures on the walls, and shafts into the deep. One of them still had an old rope dangling into the depths, which we took to be Mirval Kojar’s route and began to climb down. Triaa was first, then myself, and thankfully Morwenna and Alexander had not followed when we heard and saw one last great spider climbing the shaft below! We started back up, but it was obviously moving much faster than we, so Triaa pulled his sword and got ready to fight.

He might have had a chance if someone above us hadn’t dropped a shovel at that moment. It hit poor Triaa, knocking him off the spider’s back and down the shaft! The thing nearly filled the shaft, so I decided to take a chance and attack it with my full weight - by dropping down from above, weapons drawn! Unfortunately, I missed the spider completely, and followed Triaa to the bottom of the shaft. That really hurt. In fact, things got very fuzzy there for a while; when my head cleared, I discovered that we were all now at the bottom of the shaft, and only Morwenna was standing - over the body of the monster! She’d killed it on her own while we lay helpless.

I wasn’t good for much, yet, but sat up and watched over the group while Morwenna got some well-deserved rest. After some time and prayer, we were able to get everyone on their feet again, and we set off to explore the ruins again. We found more strange pictures on the walls, and, finally, the lighthouse keeper himself. The poor man had been shot by an arrow, and was collapsed across the pedestal with the mithril diamond piece at his feet.
We took it away with us, and climbed back to the surface.

The shaft in the woods was our next destination. I wasn’t entirely surprised to find that it led back to the troglodytes’ caves - which was proven when we ran into a troglodyte! A lucky shot and it was unconscious on the floor, while I snuck forward to look and listen a second time. There were many more troglodytes where that one came from, and arguing, too. I got back to the others in time to find out that Alexander had been talking with our captive, and gotten a promise to bring us safely to the chief to parley. Mirval Kojar had been able to work with these creatures; maybe we could, too?

The troglodyte walked us through the caves, past a bunch of very suspicious lizard-folk, and to the chief. We explained our predicament - our desire to get off the island and leave them in peace. Although the chief seemed to think that there was no other land than “his” island, he seemed open to the idea of helping - or, at least, not killing us. He did ask us to kill a creature that had been causing his people trouble, first. We agreed...

Posted by Kate on August 10, 2006, 14:06 | Dora’s Journal